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Run a 3:45 Marathon.

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Run a 3:45 Marathon.


Joe Friel

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4.63 (8)


12 Weeks

Plan Description

Train smart with a marathon training plan by Joe Friel, best-selling author and internationally recognized endurance coach.

  • Prepare for a marathon (26.2 miles) for a race time of 3:45 (3 hours, 45 minutes).

  • This 12-week plan is intended for a seasoned marathon runner who has run a marathon within 20 minutes of goal time in the past year.

  • Receive two follow-up emails from Joe with more information on the plan (must provide email address at time of purchase).

  • If plan is not working for you within the first 2 weeks, you can switch to a plan of equal value or receive a full refund.

“Joe Friel is one of the world’s foremost experts on endurance sports.” Outside magazine

“Following your plan, I had a great race. Your plan was the fine-tuning I needed.”—Bruce, marathon first-timer

“I used the 3:45 marathon plan for my first marathon, and I finished in 3:44:07! I'm so grateful for your plan and wisdom.”—Chris, marathon first-timer

Who is this plan for?

If your goal is to run a marathon in 3:45, this is the plan for you! This 12-week plan is intended for a runner who has run a marathon within 20 minutes of the goal time in the past year (or a half-marathon in at least 1:45 or a 10K in at least 48 minutes). For the pure runner, the swim and bike workouts provide variety with cross-training options to avoid leg stress, running injuries, and burnout. For the triathlete, you can keep on swimming and biking to maintain your base fitness. For more on the principles used in this plan, read Joe Friel’s article “The Triathlete as Fast Marathoner.”

What does the training look like?

This plan should be started 12 weeks prior to your marathon. You will have 3 weeks of increasing intensity load specific to your marathon goal, followed by 4–5 days of recovery and self-testing before resuming training for the next 4-week period. Alternative cross-training workouts are suggested for recovery days along with easy run options.

What is the weekly volume?

Weekly run-only volume varies from 5–8 hours per week, with most weeks around 7 hours of running. If you do the optional swim or bike workouts, the total weekly run hours decrease by about 3 hours. There is a day off every Monday to allow for recovery and rejuvenation.

Do you need any devices or apps?

You will need a heart rate monitor and a GPS device to make the best use of this plan. Your run heart rate and pace training zones should be set before starting the plan. (For a detailed description of how to set your zones, read this.) Note that this plan does not include expected workout TSS and does not use the TrainingPeaks “Workout Builder” format. TSS, however, is still calculated on completion of every workout.

After your event, please provide feedback on how this plan worked for you. Thanks again for your interest in my training plans, and I hope your training and racing go very well this season.

How it Works

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Workout and Analyze

Upload completed workouts from your favorite tracking app or device.

Track Your Progress

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Learn More

Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x6
06:11:00 03:00:00
Bike x2
01:36:00 01:00:00
Swim x2
00:50:00 00:30:00
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
06:11:00 03:00:00
01:36:00 01:00:00
00:50:00 00:30:00
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor

All supported devices

Joe Friel

Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980, Joe Friel has worked with triathletes, cyclists, and runners around the globe. He trains coaches and assists various national federations and national Olympic team staff. He also consults with professional athletes and sports-related businesses. Coach Friel occasionally offers personal camps and seminars for clubs and teams. He has authored 17 books on training including the best-selling Training Bible series. For more info, go to his blog at

  • This plan includes a Free Basic TrainingPeaks Account.
  • Access your training plan anywhere on the TrainingPeaks mobile and desktop apps.
  • Track your performance with robust data tracking and detailed graphs.
  • Plan for your event in the TrainingPeaks calendar.
  • Track your weight, sleep, hours, fatigue and stress while you train.
  • Syncs daily with other popular apps like Garmin and MyFitnessPal.

Refund Policy

This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

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